Is your business ready for HIPAA and PCI-DSS? | Spector

Is your business ready for HIPAA and PCI-DSS?

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One of the many challenges you probably face as a business owner is dealing with the vague requirements present in HIPAA and PCI-DSS legislation. Due to the unclear regulatory messaging, “assuming” rather than “knowing” can land your organisation in hot water with regulators.

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The Health and Human Services (HSS) Office for Civil Rights receives over 1,000 complaints and notifications of HIPAA violations every year. When it comes to PCI-DSS, close to 70% of businesses are non-compliant. While you might assume it’s okay if your business does not comply with HIPAA or PCI-DSS since many other companies are non-compliant as well, we can assure you it’s not. Keep in mind that being non-compliant puts you and your business at risk of being audited and fined.

Risks of Failing to Meet Minimum Compliance Requirements

Never take compliance lightly because non-compliance can lead to:

  1. Hefty penalties: HIPAA violations can draw fines ranging from $100 to $50,000 per violation, with a maximum fine of $1.5 million per calendar year of non-compliance. PCI-DSS can squeeze your budget too, with penalties ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 per month.
  2. Uninvited audits: Non-compliance can lead to unpleasant inspections and audits that can result in fines. 
  3. Denial of liability insurance claims: You must be extra careful while selecting solutions for your business. Using a single non-compliant solution can cause your insurance provider to deny a liability insurance claim. 
  4. Loss of business reputation: It takes years to build a reputation and just minutes to ruin it. Don’t let your business fall into the pit of non-compliance – it’s all under your control. 
  5. Imprisonment or even forced closure: In cases of severe non-compliance, regulatory bodies can sanction the arrest of top executives or even close the business.

First Step to Compliance: A Thorough and Accurate Risk Assessment.  

Are Your Existing Business Tools Compliant? 

If you are unsure where to start, assessing your business tools — cloud, VoIP, email service, electronic file-sharing service, applications, etc. — is an excellent place to start.

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If your main business activities are being performed within such tools, their standards will directly interfere with your compliance level. Here are a few ways to check your existing business tools for compliance: 


  • Does the tool use AES 256-bit encryption? It doesn’t matter if sensitive data, like electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI), is at rest or in transit. Encryption is required by HIPAA. (how does encryption work?)
  • A tool with proper access controls ensures those who genuinely need sensitive data can access it. What’s your tool’s access control policy?
  • Is there automatic log-off in place if no user activity is detected over a specified timeframe? HIPAA requires this in order to safeguard high-risk data. 


  • Were the default passwords during the initial setup changed after installation? PCI-DSS specifies the importance of changing passwords to keep threats at bay
  • Are inactive user accounts removed or frozen after the warning period? Inactive accounts are easy targets for attacks. 
  • Does your tool store, retrieve or transmit cardholder information? If so, it must have the newly mandated version of the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol. 

These lists are not comprehensive and only scratch the surface. Also, none of the points mentioned above ensures the tool is HIPAA or PCI-DSS compliant. Just consider it a starting point.

If you’re confused about what your next steps should be, don’t worry. We’re here to help.

Use our expertise in compliance matters to conduct a comprehensive assessment of your business’s current state of compliance. We call this the Gap Analysis, and with it, you’ll have a clear understanding of where you are and what is missing to reach your goals.

This analysis also covers the cybersecurity and technology perspective, both crucial for business success in the long run. Talk to us now to learn more.



  1. National Library of Medicine 
  2. Help Net Security Magazine 
  3. Security Boulevard 


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